Are you pregnant? An unplanned pregnancy isn’t easy for any woman to handle on her own — regardless of age. Even though you may feel alone right now, you aren’t. If adoption is an option you want to explore, take a look at what you can do next.
Make Sure You’re Really Pregnant
A missed period isn’t always a positive predictor of pregnancy. According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health (OWH), when used correctly a home pregnancy test is 99 percent accurate. If you suspect you’re pregnant, aren’t sure whether you used the home test correctly, or have an unclear result:
- Try another home test. Buy another test and follow the directions exactly. The test’s directions should instruct you on when you can use the test, how long to hold it under a urine stream, and how long to wait for a result.
- Wait to test. Failure to wait until the test can accurately detect pregnancy hormone levels may give you a false result. Even though some tests are sensitive, no home test can tell you if you’re pregnant immediately after intercourse. Wait until after your first missed period to test.
- Visit the doctor. An OB-GYN or nurse midwife can examine you and provide the testing you need to determine whether you are or aren’t pregnant.
Along with verifying a positive pregnancy test, an OB or nurse midwife can also make sure you’re physically healthy, provide pregnancy information, prescribe prenatal vitamins, and determine how many weeks pregnant you are.
Think About What Comes Next
Now that you know you’re pregnant (and know how far along you are), you’ll need to make some serious decisions. Other people, such as friends and family, may have strong opinions on your pregnancy. While it’s helpful to have a support system, you shouldn’t feel pressure to make a decision that goes against your beliefs or makes you feel uncomfortable.
Whether you choose to immediately tell the birth father, your parents, other family members, or friends, now is the time to think about your own feelings. As you wade through these often-powerful feelings and get ready to make a decision:
- Let yourself feel the range of emotions. It’s normal to feel emotions that range from anger and fear to sadness. Don’t let the stress of the situation guide your decision-making process. Instead, give yourself time to move through your initial emotions before you take the next step.
- Learn more about adoption. Before you make a decision, you need to fully understand what adoption includes and may mean for you. Talk to an adoption professional about the process and legal issues involved.
- Consider the lasting impact. Even though you may feel anxious, angry, or sad right now, consider how you’ll feel in the future — during the remainder of your pregnancy and after you give birth. While you can’t predict future feelings, you can think about them.
Is adoption still the option you want to explore? If, after reflecting on how you feel and what you want (for both yourself and your baby), adoption is still your top choice, you need to talk to an adoption counselor.
Talk to an Adoption Counselor
Even though you may have spoken with an adoption agency early on to get more information on the process, another discussion is necessary. You’ll need to learn more about the specifics of adoption, what is expected of you, and what you can expect from the agency and future adoptive parents.
Not only can an adoption counselor guide you through the process, but the trained professional also provides emotional and psychological support during this trying time. If you don’t have a strong support system, haven’t told your parents/family, or can’t speak openly to someone who you already are close to, an adoption professional can help you to understand and work through your feelings.
When you meet with the adoption counselor you can:
- Ask questions about the adoption process. If you don’t already have this information, the counselor can help you to better understand how adoption works. The professional can also help you to learn more about the way their agency works and what to expect.
- Get references for resources. Do you need an OB, help finding a place to live, or other assistance? The counselor can connect you with resources in your community.
- Discuss adoptive parent options. The counselor can provide information on what the adoptive parent options are and what types of adoptions (closed or open) are available. You can also discuss what you want in adoptive parents.
It’s normal to feel nervous before revealing an unplanned pregnancy. If you haven’t already told your family, friends, or the birth father, and you want to, the counselor can help you to start a discussion.
Do you need to talk to an adoption counselor? Contact Arizona Adoption Help for more information.